Thursday, 4 May 2017

Customised Bird Box

One of the great things about laser cutters is mass customisation, you can make lots of the same thing but customise them all to be personalised. This was just a standard bird box we bought from a store (because I didn't have time to make a whole one) but we were able to engrave names and dates on it quickly for a diamond anniversary present. The Z axis on the laser cutter drops down low enough to get the whole box under the cutting head so the process was relatively simple.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

vanillabox unsuccessful crowdfunding

It’s our sad news to announce that we did not successfully attract enough backers to go forward with further development and production of the vanillabox laser cutter. We’d like to thank all those who did back us (you’ve been emailed separately) and to everyone who has supported us through emails, tweets and interest during this project. As of right now, we are unsure what future the vanillabox has.

Team vanillabox

Dominic Morrow, Martin Raynsford , Ian Dickinson

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

1000 Sharks need a new home

To celebrate making 1000 different things on my blog, I made 1000 sharks in a big shark tank, we took it to Derby Maker Faire and now we're not sure what to to with it. If you would like to own the project it can now be yours, you will need to come and collect it from Nottingham and you will need a transit van to put it in (or you could just take the sharks). Please email me if you would like it,

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Parquet Flooring

There are a lot of interesting floor tiling patterns that I thought it would be fun to recreate for model makers. This parquet flooring pattern is neat and efficient. All the 'planks' can be lined up and cut together from a single sheet of material ensuring all the grain runs the same way before being cut and that just adds to the effect once they have been placed. I drew the pattern on the base plate to ensure everything was lined up squarely as it was glued in to place.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Fancy Box

Another vanillabox sample, this time a fancy box. I wanted it to be different to all the other boxes I've made, I didn't want any visible finger joints and I wanted a fancy pattern on the sides. It's effectively a two skin box, the inner holds the finger joints and the out has the decorative panels, the lid overlaps the inner to make it stay in place. The inside of the hex pattern was engraved to make it appear to be cut from a different material (although with the two skins it could actually have been cut on the inner layer). Low power lines complete the knot work appearance. I'd be tempted to make it again as a hexagonal box so I'm going to hold the files back for the time being.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Metal Inlay

Another vanillabox sample piece, this time I wanted to demonstrate what could be done with a little bit of imagination. The large block of oak was cut by hand and the pattern cut into the top surface. Each ring was made by putting multiple low power cuts next to each other, this left a gap that was large/deep enough to accept a strip of metal which was hammered into place. The whole thing was sanded, varnished and polished within an inch of its life.

I was intending to write an instructable about how to do this but somebody else beat me to it so if you want to make your own inlays I would suggest you read this instead.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Lasercut Vase and Flowers

While making samples for the vanillabox I was keen to experiment with new/cheap materials. I modelled this vase in 3D and sliced it with 123D make (which now appears to have gone), I cut each layer in corrugated card. I actually started life as a lampshade but it didn't let enough light through so when it was flipped upside down I realised it would make a nice vase. The petals for the flowers were all cut from crepe paper using a very low power so as to minimise the burning around the edges. The petals were wrapped with floral tape and wire to create the flower shapes. At the maker faire we had to label the item because people didn't realise the flowers were laser cut.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Infill Acrylic

A lot of work has been done to use a wax infill on engraved items to provide a high colour contrast. For this cat image I achieved the same effect using acrylic paint instead. The process is relatively simple, the acrylic was engraved and cut with the protective layer still on the sheet. The engraving was done through the cover which left some texture in the dent. The whole thing was painted black afterwards and when the paint had dried I peeled off the protective layer, essentially making my own stencil for the item I had just cut. It's a rather effective technique I'm sure you'll agree. (svg here)

Friday, 7 April 2017

New Product: Caverna Building Trays

My web stores have been down for some time while I've been working on other projects but I'm finally bringing out some new products (and old ones back up to speed). I've been working on a lot of game trays for the different board games we play. These Caverna trays hold all the buildings in their appropriate places making it quick and easy to set up the game. Next step is to rejig my older meeple trays to better fit the box.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

2 Part Parametric Flex Boxes

I made a number of OpenSCAD scripts for parametrically generating boxes using the living hinges. The scripts are capable of modelling the boxes as flat pieces or assembled items and then able to export them as 2 dimensional drawings suitable for laser cutting. You can find the scripts here on github 

These boxes were designed as sample models to coincide with the launch of our new vanillabox lasercutter, which hopefully explains why this blog has been a little empty over the last month.